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Chilling out in an Ice Hotel

Personally I can’t think of much worse than tromping through ice to spend the night in an igloo!

Oh sure it may be a fancy pants igloo, but an igloo by any other name is still an igloo. However hand carved Ice Hotels are incredibly popular, so if spending the night on an ice slab in sub-zero degrees and hoping you don’t have to get up for the loo is your idea of a good time, then read on.

Ice Hotel

Your boudoir?

Scandinavia’s most famous Ice Hotel is in Swedish Lapland and Canada has the Quebec Ice Hotel. They’re made by packing ice and snow together into incredibly elaborate designs and last about 4 months (December to April) until they melt away for spring. You can expect temps from minus 6 up to a balmy zero degrees celsius (that’s 21 – 32 farenheit). Some have ice bars and restaurants with ornate ice sculptures and glassware made from ice. (No your lips don’t stick to the glass because funnily enough the air is dry.) Some have hot tubs on private decks so you can soak in warm water while all around you freezes.

You will be provided with sub-zero sleeping bags (oh joy) and your ice beds will likely be covered in reindeer skins, but you should wear thermals and pack a big polar fleece. And here’s a tip: pack your clothes in the bottom of your sleeping bag so you can get dressed Mr Bean-style into warm clothes in the morning. Personally, I’d be sleeping in tomorrow’s clothes already. It’s also wise to book a warm room in the main hotel if it doesn’t come with your package, that way you can use it to change, shower, toilet and scamper to in the night if you can’t hack it.

Ready for bed?

Ready for bed?

Here’s a couple to check out:

Sweden’s Ice Hotel has been chilling guests for 22 years in Lapland (the home of Santa). It has an ice sauna and a stunning, sparkly chapel so perfect for a white wedding. And if you’re really lucky you’ll get to see the northern lights (which are on my Bucket List).

Hotel de Glace in Quebec City, Canada opens Jan 6 until March 25 2012. This has the hot tub suite (a must for me). You’ll get a tour of the whole hotel before you check in and can see each artistic design in every room.

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Hi, I'm Megan Singleton and I'm the word slinger of this travel blog as well as on radio in NZ every Sunday. Former Travel Editor at Yahoo NZ and current freelance writer for a few newspapers and mags from time to time, I set off on this travel writing journey 20 years ago and I've pretty much always got a suitcase half packed (or half un-packed!) I'd love you to join me on Facebook or Twitter and sign up for my newsletters if you want loads of travel tips, advice and deals!